Key Trends For Commercial Office Spaces In 2022
Pre-pandemic, being offered a remote or flexible position was either less appealing to employees, or very hard to come by. But now, after 60% of us worked from home during the pandemic, the opinions of both employers and employers have changed on the advantages and realities of remote working being a sustainable option for the future.
Understandably, it’s not been an easy ride for the commercial property market. CBRE reported in their UK Real Estate Market Outlook Mid-year Review | CBRE that at £2.2bn, all UK office investment was down -65% and -37% in the first quarter of 2021 relative to the previous quarter and Q1 2020 respectively, primarily due to temporary restrictions on overseas investor visits. Further to this, commercial take-up in Central London totalled 2.3m sq ft for the year to May 2021, a year-on-year fall of 25% and 55% down on the 10-year average.
However, the total remote working trend is not likely to last long term, as 71% of respondents to a survey by Hubble still want their company to have an office of some sort. So, how can commercial property managers look to adapt their offering to tempt employers and employees back to the office in 2022? The answer sits
As working from home did bring a range of advantages for employees, so to attract them back into the office again, employers and commercial office managers will now have to equal or better those benefits. We discuss some of the trends we expect to see in 2022 for attracting workers back into the office below.
With the dramatic rise of online shopping during the pandemic, the convenience of being at home for your parcel collection is a great advantage. To keep up with the conveniences of home working with out of work tasks, we expect to see more commercial spaces offering concierge services as part of their packages, or the evermore popular Amazon delivery lockers.
Creating a workspace in your home at short notice was easier for some than others, and the “home office” tended to widely include bedrooms, kitchen tables and sofas. Employees were able to curate more comfortable and personal spaces to work within their homes, so the idea of returning to a clinical office environment may not seem as appealing as it did before.
The Office Group have created alternative work spaces within their offices that mirror that of the home, such as taking away banks of six desks and replacing them with communal tables and or sofas. They have also been exploring the use of light and smell within their offices to create different spaces in their buildings that offer a home-like ambiance, compared to the traditional harsh light that we have known in commercial office space for many years.
GenZ has entered the workplace throughout a global pandemic, and by 2025 they will make up 27% of the global workforce. Differing from other generations, they are much less likely to have experienced working 5 days a week in the office or the associated social benefits from it. In fact, research from Adobe shows that 57% of GenZ agree with the statement “I feel pressure to be reachable at all times of the day, even early mornings or evenings.” ,which is a higher score than all other generations. Commercial agents will benefit from marketing associated social and extra curricular benefits of the office to the Gen-Z generation, such as after work drinks, access to nearby gyms and shopping to introduce the idea of "switching off" from work outside the 9-5.
Further to this, a report from Kronos found that Gen Zers are largely optimistic about their future — but anxious about their abilities to be successful workers. And in the U.K, 40% of Gen Z sees anxiety as a barrier to success. Providing access to amenities that boost wellbeing such as quiet zones, green spaces and nearby gyms or clubs will help top line, but having hands on help in the office with qualified mental health first aiders is a great way to be able to provide helpful support and advice for employees.
The need and purpose of commercial office space has changed drastically in the last two years, but there is an overall enthusiasm to return to the office on some basis from both employers and employees. As property managers, being able to offer tenants additional benefits will be crucial in staying competitive as many companies will be aiming to offer hybrid working to retain employees going forward.
You can read more about the other property trends such as sustainability and the UPRN in our 2022 state of property management report below.